The tech behind A R Rahman's VR film Le Musk fully explained

A R Rahman's Le Rusk premiered at Cannes
A R Rahman's Le Rusk premiered at Cannes. (Image credit: Twitter)

Indian musical icon A R Rahman’s film Le Musk had its premiere at the 75th Cannes Film Festival. Le Musk is a 36-minute long virtual reality film imagined by Rahman with Intel and partners. The film was screened, in collaboration with Marché du Film, at Cannes Film Market`s Cannes XR program, which is a dedicated program for immersive technologies and cinematographic content. 

Rahman's directorial debut, a filmi tale of revenge, is touted to be one that provides 'cinematic sensory experience incorporating virtual reality, with motion, music and scent integrated into the narrative.'

Shot in Rome, Le Musk  was shot on 14 different cameras capturing super-resolution quality video and was further enhanced by the work of 10 different VFX houses .

The story follows an orphan woman, who seeks out the men who changed her destiny with one powerful memory — that of their scent. 

Rehman and his wife are said to be fond of perfumes and hence wanted to integrate scent as a narrative device in immersive cinema. The story of Le Musk has been developed by Rahman from an original idea by his wife Saira.

Positron's Voyager chairs behind it

Poster of the movie Le Musk

(Image credit: Twitter)

The film's cast includes Nora Arnezeder and Guy Burnet in lead roles, alongside Munirih Grace and Mariam Zohrabyan. Besides composing the score, Rahman has directed the film from the screenplay of Gurachi Phoenix.

Rahman, in a statement, said: "We’ve aimed to create an unprecedented, subtle sensory cinematic surrealism. Aroma and music together bring warm memories subjectively for the audience." 

Creating a feature-length Cinema VR experience that pushes boundaries of storytelling and incorporates multiple senses was a guiding force for me, he added.

So what is the technology that provides scented experience for viewers?

For this, Rahman and his team worked with Positron, a Los Angeles-based virtual reality technology and entertainment company. Positron's Voyager VR motion chair gives the extra dimension to the viewers by virtually placing them in the scene. The VR headsets make the viewers feel as if they are right there through that screen, and the film's story is happening around them. 

Of course, VR headsets are not new to film viewing. But Positron's Voyager chairs take the experience one step further. 

"Guests sit down in what looks like a half-open egg-shaped lounge chair. Once inside, guests put on the VR headsets, and as they watch the virtual reality movie, the pod moves — it turns, whirls, releases odors and provides other haptic feedback," the company said sometime back. Location-based VR brings presence, interactivity and immersion in a way that no other storytelling technology provides. Viewers don't just observe a story in virtual reality, they’re part of that story.

Rahman shares pics from Cannes

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And that is precisely what happened at premiere as can be seen by the pics that Rahman shared on his social media handles. Viewers seemed to have had a more immersive and realistic way of experiencing a film rather than sitting down and watching it.

Le Musk is Rahman’s second film after 2021’s 99 Songs which saw the celebrated composer make his writing and production debut.

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Rahman walked Cannes red carpet alongside British actor Guy Burnet who plays a musician in Le Musk and Ravindra Velhal, Intel’s Global Content Technologist who is the executive producer and VR technology director for Le Musk

The movie is produced by Rahman’s ARR Studios with Ideal Entertainment and Intel as co-producers and Thenandal Studio and Palani Andavar Holdings as associate producers.

Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.